Wetpixel DEMA 2012 show coverage.
Booth visits: Aquatica, Nauticam, GoPro, Polar Pro, Solmar V/DivEncounters Alliance, Dive and See, Reefnet, Fisheye.
The 2012 DEMA show opened officially today and Wetpixel Editor Adam Hanlon was on hand to visit the booths around the show.
Aquatica and Amphibico.
First stop was Canadian housing manufacturer Aquatica. Jean Bruneau (vizart) kindly guided me through the company’s new products. Of huge potential interest is a new housing for the Pocket Wizard Plus III. These are remote flash triggers, that work using a wireless signal and can trigger a flash at up to 100 meters (330 feet) of distance. They do not work when submerged (as the radio will not transmit through water), so Aquatica has machined facets into the housing that allow the attachment of clamps for buoyancy arms and also attachment points so that the Water Wizard can be supported on a tripod or stand.
The sample that Jean had been pre-production, but the finished product will also have an external on/off switch. The Pocket Wizards can also be used as wireless remote camera triggers, and the Water Wizard will also support this feature.
Jean also mentioned that they can be used as relays, allowing camera remote triggering or remote flash triggering from almost unlimited distances.
Aquatica has recently started shipping the AD800 housing for the Nikon D800 SLR. An immediate feature is the addition of a rocker that allows the camera’s function and preview buttons to be accessed.
The actual actuating mechanism is on the camera saddle.
The housing on show also has a new feature that will be appearing on the entire Aquatica range. Electronic strobe triggering bulkheads are now held in place with a security o ring rather than a screw thread, eliminating the need for tools to remove or replace them.
The AD800 also features a redesigned port lock, which is now activated from the housing’s right hand side and specific lever to access flash power control.
Lastly, it has a locking collar that allows one lever to control either AF-on or AE/AF lock, and for this to be locked in place.
The AD800 is available now at $3159.
Another new Aquatica product is the A5D MkIII. Jean described this as a retro housing, as it keeps many features from the company’s housing for the 5D Mark II. As the camera does not have a pop-up flash, this simplifies the housing somewhat.
Aquatica can supply an optional extender lever that attaches to the housing to extend the ISO button for still shooters. The housing has a total of five bulkheads, with two typically being reserved for Nikonos type strobe triggers.
Aquatica supplies these with 6 pins (and the hot shoe connector is too) for attaching Sea & Sea TTL convertors if required. Uniquely, one of the bulkheads is on the bottom of the housing.
Price on the A5D MkIII is $3150.
Jean then handed me over to Joe Bendahan of Amphibico. Aquatica and Amphibico share production facilities, with the brand having been bought by the former in 2011. Joe showed me the company’s flagship new product, the Rouge housing for the RED Scarlett digital cinema camera.
Amphibico has stuck to their traditional controls for the housing with full electronic control of the camera via hand grips. These utilize an RS 237 protocol that has been worked out with RE and Amphibico, which whilst not proprietary, is currently only being used by Amphibico.
Lens control is via servo, with the housing being supplied with one as standard and up to two more being available as options. Amphibico feel that the housing will be compatible with 90% of available lens choices, including Canon PL and EF mount and Nikon F mount. The port is a 9 1/4” glass dome, and there are extensions available for different lenses. The Scarlett 5” monitor can be viewed via either the top or back, with windows being standard for either. Joe stated that one of Amphibico’s projects for 2013 will be an external HDMI monitor that will also be compatible with Rouge.
The camera is mounted on a saddle, that comes complete with V mount battery attachment points. The saddle also carries the lens servos, and the whole assembly can be slid straight into the back of the housing.
Rouge costs $12,995 with the port at $2,500.
Amphibico are planning a housing a housing for the Sony FS700, via their existing Genesis line. This will need to be slightly reshaped to accommodate the camera as it has a bigger front end to accommodate the built-in ND filter.
They have also released a new Wave housing for the Sony CX760. This utilises the camera’s remote control encapsulated into the housing and positioned so that the controls can be accessed from the grip.
Joe listed Amphibico’s projects for 2013 as being completing the housing for the FS700, an external monitor and a housing for the Atomos Ninja recorder/monitor.
I headed over to the Nauticam stand where Nauticam USA’s Chris Parsons showed me through the new products that the company has on offer.
Nauticam has provided support for the Olympus 12-50mm lens via an ingenious zoom gear.
The lens has two modes, a fixed focal length macro mode and an electronic powered zoom mode. These are controlled via a switch on the side of the lens.
Nauticam has designed a meshing zoom gear that works with a switch located on the port to give access to this function.
While we were looking at the Olympus OMD-EM5 camera and Nauticam housing, Chris also showed me how the magnifying viewfinder is attached to the housing, improving the EVF’s function. The LCD window is removed and a new one substituted, but similar to the viewfinders themselves this is held in place with a simple o ring.
Nauticam also were displaying their housing for the Sony NEX 5R EVIL camera. This has been redesigned to accommodate the body that is slightly larger, and to give access to the new control dial that sits above the record and review buttons. Unfortunately, existing NEX 5N housings cannot be modified to accommodate the NEX 5R.
The housings for the Canon EOS 650D was next. The camera is the first Canon camera to feature phase detection AF, which Chris found to be very impressive.
The video record switch has been moved to close to the on/off switch, and the NA650D mirrors this control.
Nauticam had their new housing for the Canon 1 DX and 1 DC cameras. This is a flagship housing incorporating almost all of Nauticam’s control functions.
The camera’s joystick, that controls the moving around images when they are zoomed in has an amazing control.
Other controls on the housing include levers, piano keys and buttons.
Edward Lai, Managing Director of Nauticam, showed me a new nylon spacer that will be used to eliminate contact between the stainless steel stabiliser plates and the aluminium housing. This will be added to all new housings in due course. The NA1 DX ships with two Nikonos ports as standard, as well as two fiber optic ports.
Nauticam has been working on the development of a strobe triggering unit that can be used to trigger strobes via fiberoptic.
This is activated by the hot shoe, and can be used with cameras that lack a built-in flash (Nauticam housings all have space to allow the unit to be fitted) or for continuous shooting where camera flash recycle times may slow down the camera. It will be available in Nikon and Canon versions, and is currently only capable of triggering strobes on a manual exposure setting.
Brand new for the show is the housing for the Nikon D600. This features very similar controls to the D800 housing, with the multi selector switch, and 4 levers controlling image review, ISO, record off/on and AF/AE lock.
A new control is a lever that depresses the button for the drive mode dial. The housing is also much smaller than that of the D800, being more similar in size to that of the NA-D7000.
Also being unveiled for the first time at DEMA was Nauticam’s prototype housing for the RED Scarlett. This is a comparatively small and light housing, with all mechanical controls.
By utilising the RED DSMC side handle, Nauticam has been able to design an innovative “block” that mounts onto the camera tray, and allows the controls to “turn” through 90°.
The side handle also gives control wheel access to iris and shutter speed as well as 14 user assignable function buttons. The housing uses existing Nauticam bayonet ports, and is hence not compatible with Canon PL lenses. Ryan Canon of Nauticam USA feels that this is not a significant drawback for underwater use as most of the PL lenses do not focus very close.
The housing has viewing windows for the RED monitor on top and side, and also is compatible with the company’s NA-DP4 housing with the Small HD 4” monitor. Ryan says that he did not feel prepared to risk the water tight integrity of the housing by routing the RED monitor cable outside of the camera housing. Another deliberate design feature is that mounting the camera requires no tools and the allowance of space inside the housing for external recording devices. Prices, availability and the name of the new housing are not yet confirmed.
Lastly, Nauticam were displaying some prototype carbon fiber buoyancy arms. These have an aluminum core to give extra strength. Sizes, prices and weights are still to be confirmed.
GoPro’s redesigned range of POV cams was on display on their stand. There are three models, White ($200), Silver($300) and Black($400), all of which feature the same form factor and an underwater housing as standard. In addition, all are wifi enabled.
GoPro’s Rick Loughery took time from a very busy stand to give me a run down on the features. The Silver provides a similar level of performance to the existing HERO2, while the Black is completely redesigned, with a new processor and lens. It will record 4K footage at 15fps, 1080 at 60fps, 2.7 K at 30fps, and 720 at 120 fps. The latter should give very smooth slow motion. Rick pointed out that the a frame grab from the 4K footage still gives an 8 megapixel image, and hence could be edited into a time-lapse or burst sequence. The Black version also has new burst modes including a 30 shots in 1 second and 30 in 3 second settings. These would be full 12 megapixel stills.
GoPro has also redesigned their LCD BacPac, giving touch screen control of all camera settings. The GoPro app also provides similar functionality, and whilst this cannot be used underwater, is more convenient for setting the camera pre dive. The new housing does have an optional flexible back for touch screen access, which will work at shallow depths and battery life is around 2.5 hours. Lastly, the new cameras are all now using micro SD cards for storage rather than SD as on the HERO2.
I then visited with Jeff Overall and Austen Butler of Polar Pro. The company was displaying its goods for the first time at DEMA, and they featured a range of accessories for GoPro cameras.
These consist of blue and green water filters for underwater, as well as polarization and ND filters for topside use. The filters clip not the GoPro housings.
They did also have a prototype filter for the HERO3, and they estimated that it will be available in 3/4 weeks. Their filters all retail at $29 each.
Solmar V/DivEncounters Alliance.
I headed over to see Jose Luis Sanchez on his Solmar V stand. Jose Luis is a part of the DivEncounters Alliance. This is a newly formed group of liveaboard dive boats which include the Peter Hughes group, M/V Orion, Galapagos Sky, Undersea Hunter group, M S/V Waow, Atlantis Azores, M/V Caribbean Pearl and Solmar V.
Dive and See.
Another DEMA newcomer, Dive and See were showing their range of underwater monitors. Thanks to feedback provided by Wetpixel reviewer Steve Douglas in his review of their 5” monitor, the company has redesigned their HDMI cable so that it no longer “sticks out” of the back, but turns through 90° making it more compact.
The monitors are sealed and are charged via an external charger and an EO wet connector, which will also allow them to be powered by an external power supply underwater if required. Available in a 5” ($2149) and 7”($2498) versions, the monitors have push button access to peaking filters, blue gun and a shrouded on/off switch. They are supplied with a 90° mini HDMI connector cable, which mates to as up plied bulkhead. These bulkheads are available in M16, M14 and 1/2” diameters. The bulkhead itself is sealed, so in the event that the monitor’s cable is cut, the camera housing will not flood.
Dive and See were also exhibiting a 100 foot long bulkhead to HDMI cable for surface or remote monitoring.
Reefnet were exhibiting their range of fiber snoots, which are all now available. They are available for Inon Z240, Z220, D-2000 and S-2000, Sea & Sea YS-01, YS-D1 and YS-250 and Ikelite DS-125, DS160 and DS-161 strobes. Keri Wilk of Reefnet mentioned that the performance of fiber shoots is actually enhanced by smaller flash tubes as these give our proportionally more light per unit area. Kris Wilk provided some great news in that their digital Reef Fish ID software is shortly to be available for mac users. The plan is to create a new downloadable app that will access the data on the existing DVD. They are also looking into an infrastructure for tablets and iOS devices.
Keri also let slip that he has plans to create a new lens for wide-angle macro. He has promised that he will let us have more details as soon as they become public.
Kaz Okada talked me through the new Fisheye Fix Aquavolt 7000 video light. The light has an output of 7000 lumens in a clean, even 115° beam. Controllable in five levels, it will run for an hour on a charge at full power after which it powers down to a 20% beam for a further 20 minutes.
With a total weight of 1,191g and an in water buoyancy of 510g negative, the light may well be a very good choice for SLR video.
Page 1: Pre-show set up.
Page 2: Booth visits: Aquatica, Nauticam, GoPro, Polar Pro, Solmar V/DivEncounters Alliance, Dive and See, Reefnet, Fisheye.
Page 3: Booth visits: Subal, Blue Vision, Acquapazza, Sea & Sea, Nauticam, Quikpod, XIT404 and Gates Underwater Products.
Page 4: The Wetpixel/DivePhotoGuide Party.
Page 5: Booth Visits: Ikelite, Watershot, i-Divesite, Ultralite Control Systems, Dive and See, BS Kinetics, Light and Motion, Keldan, Nocturnal Lights, Snake River Prototyping.
Page 6: Booth visits: Equinox, Inon, Backscatter, Mangrove, Seacam and around the show.